“P-proposition?” I ask, straightening up in my chair. I notice this and immediately shrink back down. I should not be this excited for what he’s about to say…but even so, I can’t control the butterflies that rise up my stomach and tickle my throat with a nervous giggle. I look down, at my hands folded on the table in front of me, so not to be hypnotized by those frosty eyes of his.
“Yes,” he replies pleasantly. Unfortunately he has to pause, as the waiter has brought us our steak and salad meal.
I thank the waiter, even though my stomach twangs with annoyance at his interruption. It isn’t his fault he has poor timing. Again, Professor Skye stares forward at me, not acknowledging the help. “That’s very rude,” I whisper when the waiter walks away. I reach for my fork and knife and dig in without second thought.
“He wants what I want.”
“Huh?” I ask through a bite of salad.
Professor Skye smirks at me and raises his eyebrows. I blush and turn back to my salad, deciding it would be better not to ask. “The proposition?” I direct us back to the original subject.
“Yes.” He says. He hasn’t touched his food and doesn’t seem very interested in doing so. I wonder why he ordered if that was the case- growing up in a poor household has made me very conscious food wastefulness.
“I would like to start out with a little… disclaimer, if you will.”
My stomach freezes. “Go on…” I say carefully, putting my fork down on my plate.
“If your answer is no, then we will go on from today as though none of this happened. I don’t want rumors flying around campus. I don’t want obvious awkwardness in the classroom. You must know that both our reputations (and much more) are at stake if such things were to be…publicized.” He said sternly, leaving no room for argument. Not that I would argue anyway.
“I understand.” It was simple. I wouldn’t tell anyone anyway.
“Now… You are very mature for your age. This much a know. You stopped eating.”
“Oh. Sorry.” I absently stuff a spoonful of loaded baked potatoe in my mouth. What was it with him and eating?
Something dark and unknown seems to flash in his eyes as I obeyed. I watch as his jaw tightened and the muscles jump, as if with the beat of his heart. It’s… strangely alluring.
“I want you.” He says imply. “There’s just something about you…something I’ve never experienced before with anyone else. I have to have you.”
I bite my lower lip. So the attraction wasn’t just me. That’s both exciting…and nerve wracking. “Maybe I want you to?” I try to come off as flirty, but it comes off as nervous. Another gust of anxious laughter rises up my throat. God, I’m such an idiot. Here I am, laughing, when the hottest man I’ve ever seen is telling me he wants me.
“I’m serious, Lena.” He says. “I know you want me too. I can see it in your eyes while I’m teaching the class. It’s what first attracted me to you.”
I flush. “You noticed?”
“How could I not? It’s been maddening…having to teach, to go on with the lesson, as if I don’t notice the way you clinch your thighs together under your desk… The way you bite your lip and twirl your hair.” He takes a deep breath, as if to steady himself. “I can’t take it anymore. I’ll simply go insane. I want you.” He says again.
So he’s noticed this whole time. I can’t help the humiliating reddness in my cheeks. And I thought I was doing so well to hide my strange attraction from him. “So the proposition is… We get to sleep with each other, but I can’t tell anyone?”
“Oh, no. That’s just part of the rules… The proposition is simple: I want you to submit to me fully, sexually and otherwise, during the time of our relationship.”
“Submit..? Like… You want to boss me around- sexually and otherwise?” I can’t think of any other way to describe it.
“That’s exactly what I want to do.” He narrows his eyes at me, as if daring me to question him.
Could I do that? I’ve never…
“And what do I get in return?” I shoot back. If he wants me to let him control me, he better have something good hidden up his sleeve. Mamma didn’t raise no fool.
“Besides me?” He chuckles at his own joke. “Kidding. How about… your own studio apartment above the square, with a view of the city skyline. Equipped with maid services and your own driver, of course. And… because I’m feeling generous, your own credit card, set up to my account, with no spending limit.”
My mouth opens and closes like a fish out of water. It sounds too good to be true. I narrow my eyes at him. “How can you afford any of that on a Professor’s salary?” He may be better off, but certainly not by that much.
“My family owns Aria Publishing. I get a percentage of the yearly grossing and, once my father passes away, the company will belong to me.”
Wow. I did not know that. But still…. “Do I have to give my answer immediately… I would like a few days to think about this. Um, you know, do some research or something.”
“Of course. I’ll give you the week to come up with your final answer.” He singals the waiter over to collect the check.
“You didn’t eat any of your food.” I say, trying to ease the tension such a subject has left behind.
“It’s for you to take home for dinner tonight. Perhaps you can do your research while you eat it?” He smirks at me.
I gulp as he trades the waiter a shinning black credit card for a couple of to-go boxes.
As we’re walking out to the car, Professor Skye wraps his arm protectively around my shoulders, to fight off the wind. He was right. It definitely is going to rain.
The drive back to the University is… tense. He doesn’t park in the University parking lot, but instead in the one for the apartments across campus. I furrow my eyebrows, confused, but this it hits me. Not only is it seriously risky for him to even be driving with me in the car around campus, but probably pretty stupid too. I suppose this is something we’ll have to discuss when- if- I decide to take him up on his offer. He climbs out of the car and heads around to open the door for me.
God, I’ve never wanted to kiss someone so bad in my life.
“Thanks,” I mumble and go to hand him his jacket.
“Keep it. You don’t have one and the sky is getting pretty dark. I’ll be fine.”
I nod, not bothering to try and argue. Once I’m alone, I can sniff the fabric. (Does that make me weird)? “I’ll see you tomorrow.” I wave as I start to head off towards my next class.
“I’ll message you tonight.” He replies.
How I’m suppose to focus on class work with everything that’s happened within the last hour is beyond me.